Tag Archive for: Imagery Satellites

Satlantis, a provider of Earth observation satellites based in Spain, has purchased a majority stake in SuperSharp, a spin-out company from a British university.

The acquisition is intended to help Satlantis expand into the thermal imaging market. SuperSharp is currently developing a foldable thermal infrared telescope that would enable smaller satellites, with a size equivalent to 12 cubesats, to capture images with a 6-meter ground sampling distance.

This technology is expected to provide four times better resolution per unit cost than currently available satellites.

Satlantis’ investment in SuperSharp will provide the resources needed to deploy an in-orbit demonstrator in 2025, using a satellite platform and launch provider that have yet to be secured. The exact amount of the investment remains undisclosed.

Spun out from University of Cambridge in 2017, SuperSharp employs seven people and will remain an independent company following the investment, under a deal that recently secured British government approval.

Satlantis employs around 80 people, including about 10 at its U.S.-based subsidiary.

The Spanish company builds Earth observation payloads that it sells separately or as part of a whole satellite by using subcontractors to provide the spacecraft chassis.

The manufacturer’s first whole satellite under this arrangement, Armsat-1 for the government of Armenia — the country’s first dedicated satellite — launched last year.

Satlantis produces the majority of a satellite under this arrangement before securing a customer so it can support a quick turnaround and it has another four missions in the pipeline for 2023-2024.

Mare said the first of these will be a methane-detection satellite called GEISAT, slated to launch on a SpaceX rideshare mission in June for undisclosed customers.

Satlantis currently develops Earth imaging payloads using high-resolution visible (VIS), near infrared (NIR) and short-wave infrared (SWIR) spectrum.

Adding SuperSharp’s technology to its product mix enables Satlantis to offer payloads across a full spectrum of imaging solutions from the visible and near-infrared (VNIR) portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to long-wave infrared (LWIR).

Satlantis recently posted 11.6 million euros ($13 million) in revenues for 2022, which it said was a record for the 10-year-old company.

Satellogic is a South American company known for high-resolution multispectral imagery. They are selling Earth-observation satellites for $10 million or less.

Satellogic has introduced a new Space Systems product that targets customers interested in developing their space capabilities rather than just purchasing images.

According to Satellogic’s chief commercial officer, Matt Tirman, this type of satellite is sought after by space agencies worldwide for various purposes, such as civil, research, and defensive and intelligence. He also mentioned that there is a high demand for this product.

Satellogic is providing its customers with the option to receive delivery of their satellite orders within three months.

In addition, the company is offering to transfer intellectual property to its clients. According to Matt Tirman, Satellogic’s chief commercial officer, some customers have requested the company’s advice on how to set up an assembly, integration, and testing facility.

Satellogic is not subjected to U.S. export controls such as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, and customers do not need a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration license for Earth imagery because the company is not based in the United States.

This exemption from ITAR and NOAA licensing requirements is a significant advantage for both Satellogic and the market.

Satellogic was established in 2010 and currently operates a constellation of 30 Earth-observation satellites.

By the end of this year, the company plans to increase its satellite count to over 40 to meet the demand for Earth imagery, analytics, and satellite tasking services from its customers, according to Matt Tirman, Satellogic’s chief commercial officer.

The company’s ability to build high-quality smallsats at scale for a lower cost compared to traditional Earth-observation satellites is a significant aspect of its business, Tirman added.

Over the past two years, the demand for satellites has increased, particularly from emerging space programs in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, which led to the creation of Satellogic’s Space Systems arm in January.